What's left for Fender to do?

Discussion of newer designs, copies and reissue offset-waist instruments.
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jesterpunk68
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Re: What's left for Fender to do?

Post by jesterpunk68 » Fri Nov 09, 2018 7:10 pm

I would love it if they brought back the jag-stang and released a real jazzblaster with WRHB pickups. They could even talk to Curtis Novak and figure out how he makes them or rewinds the current ones and do that with the jazzblasters.

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Larry Mal
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Re: What's left for Fender to do?

Post by Larry Mal » Fri Nov 09, 2018 8:07 pm

Danley wrote:
Fri Nov 09, 2018 6:10 pm
If the guitar was totally re-designed today we'd probably wind up with some sort of active piezo setup. Then the rest of the energy would be spent on modeling the tone of the crappy '30s tech amps & pickups in software :D
Well, sure, that's my point. What I was talking about is the fact that the electric guitar is not really some ideal instrument, frankly, it has some serious limitations- it's a living fossil, in a lot of ways.

If it was me, and I was an electric guitar maker, I would be trying to make the electric guitar sound better, by lowering the noise floor and by expanding the frequency range of the output. I would be trying to compete by making the electric guitar sound more like the acoustic instrument it actually is.

And both of those things can be done, and that used to be the goal at least sometimes- but now, instead, we see the electric guitar go the opposite way. "mbene085" and myself have talked about this before, as late as the 70s, electric guitar makers were still tweaking the designs of pickups in order to output a wider frequency range (think "Wide Range Humbuckers") and to be more quiet- and yes, piezo and ceramic pickups were part of that process. But then something that I call "the great extinction event" took place, and all of a sudden guitarists began to slavishly imitate the sounds of earlier instruments in a lot of cases (another situation was that guitar players played very high gain music that did not rely on clean sounds very much).

And then that was the end of that- the guitar makers, for the most part, were forced by the marketplace to make versions of their instruments the way they were making them decades prior. Like, if it didn't sound the say it did on Eric Clapton's Beano album, that was bad, even decades later.

Imagine microphones, which in the 30's were also noisy, and outputted a much more narrower frequency range than what the instruments they were recording produced, and thus sounded unnatural. Obviously, microphones today capture a much more realistic image of what they are in front of, but if the marketplace insisted that the only good microphones were the ones that Hoagy Carmichael sang into during the Great Depression then we would be in the same place that the electric guitar is.

But who cares, right? Plenty of good music is made on the electric guitar and will continue to be for our lifetimes.

I only mention this because of the question- what's left for Fender to do?

And my answer is, basically, nothing. They are an electric guitar company and the marketplace expects and demands no innovation from that instrument, in fact, what is prized is the sounds of the past. So what Fender basically can do is just that... keep making what the marketplace demands from them until no one wants that. Innovation is not expected from Fender, not rewarded when it happens, and that's all there is to that.
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Re: What's left for Fender to do?

Post by Stephen_42 » Fri Nov 09, 2018 8:32 pm

jesterpunk68 wrote:
Fri Nov 09, 2018 7:10 pm
I would love it if they brought back the jag-stang and released a real jazzblaster with WRHB pickups. They could even talk to Curtis Novak and figure out how he makes them or rewinds the current ones and do that with the jazzblasters.
Image

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Re: What's left for Fender to do?

Post by shadowplay » Sat Nov 10, 2018 3:25 am

Give up making guitars and move into the nostalgic Fender tm 'rock n roll will never die' cruises and theme parks where you can ride the fretboard rocknrollercoaster surrounded by people dressed in official merchandise.

I'd also busily get designing holographic air guitars for the audiences at the forthcoming tsunami of holographic dead rock grandee tours (wide range of official lifestyle merchandise available in the foyer).

They need to get in on this before Gibson does, since they've spiritually already got one wrinkly toe in this game/grave.

D
I like that old time rock 'n' roll, don't try to take me to a disco.

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Re: What's left for Fender to do?

Post by Futuron » Sat Nov 10, 2018 3:58 am

Digital guitar with IR, heat or pressure sensor etc gesture detection to figure out what you're playing. (no pickups or electricity required of course, just computer electronics) - it could be a whole new sound, a seemingly whole new instrument.

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Re: What's left for Fender to do?

Post by timtam » Sat Nov 10, 2018 4:48 am

Is any guitar company that doesn't have modelled guitars going to be left behind ? Maybe Fender is working on it now ? How soon before we see a jag that can sound like a 59 Les Paul ? ;)

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Re: What's left for Fender to do?

Post by Maggieo » Sat Nov 10, 2018 2:02 pm

"Eurorack Strat!"
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Re: What's left for Fender to do?

Post by Danley » Sat Nov 10, 2018 3:00 pm

timtam wrote:
Sat Nov 10, 2018 4:48 am
Is any guitar company that doesn't have modelled guitars going to be left behind ? Maybe Fender is working on it now ? How soon before we see a jag that can sound like a 59 Les Paul ? ;)
I want to be able to play on a virtual 'screen' fretboard where I can set the nut and scale length wherever I want. Then I can go on the internet and argue about whether 24.25" scale sounds better than 24.20" .

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Re: What's left for Fender to do?

Post by mbene085 » Sat Nov 10, 2018 3:09 pm

Danley wrote:
Sat Nov 10, 2018 3:00 pm
timtam wrote:
Sat Nov 10, 2018 4:48 am
Is any guitar company that doesn't have modelled guitars going to be left behind ? Maybe Fender is working on it now ? How soon before we see a jag that can sound like a 59 Les Paul ? ;)
I want to be able to play on a virtual 'screen' fretboard where I can set the nut and scale length wherever I want. Then I can go on the internet and argue about whether 24.25" scale sounds better than 24.20" .
Or whether the modeled nickel plated steel strings with a 250k tone pot on 10 sound brighter than the pure nickel string setting with a 500k tone pot set to 8 ;)

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Re: What's left for Fender to do?

Post by s_mcsleazy » Sat Nov 10, 2018 3:18 pm

make most of you guys happy.
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Re: What's left for Fender to do?

Post by sirspens » Sat Nov 10, 2018 8:02 pm

My first thought also had to do with pickup technology innovation. But, as has been pointed out, there is such a huge niche market of specialty pickup manufacturers, it would take true R&D to innovate. But, really, the vast majority of those pickup makers are just making a bit better versions of 1930s pickups, with very few really innovating.

I'm going to go in a different direction than Larry. A pickup that delivers a truer and cleaner wound would be cool. But what about a pickup that you can dial in like a synthesizer, playing with the harmonics it is picking up, or other ways to modulate the sound? Right there on the guitar. Not just a silly tone knob to destroy your precious highs, but to truly play with the sounds. You could do it with pedals or post production, sure, but like feed, changing how the pickup is taking in signal, instead of messing with the signal, would be very interesting.

The Meteora could have been interesting. I like the body design. Have you watched the video for it? Something like, "When you are going to introduce something new with Fender, it has to have something familiar too, thus the Telecaster set-up." Ugh.

At the moment a lot of electronic music is being made, from electronica, to EDM but also to M83 and pop. That is hurting the guitar market. Maybe it isn't their job to find a place to fit in. I don't know.

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Re: What's left for Fender to do?

Post by Zork » Sun Nov 11, 2018 4:01 am

From a marketing perspective a Fender should always sound and look like a Fender. An innovative instrument from Fender would most likely fail on the market.
Did someone mention Gibson and Robotuners? It's the same...

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Re: What's left for Fender to do?

Post by Mechanical Birds » Sun Nov 11, 2018 4:42 am

Legit Marauder but with a non-horrible tremolo and proprietary new pickups

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Larry Mal
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Re: What's left for Fender to do?

Post by Larry Mal » Sun Nov 11, 2018 6:42 am

Zork wrote:
Sun Nov 11, 2018 4:01 am
From a marketing perspective a Fender should always sound and look like a Fender. An innovative instrument from Fender would most likely fail on the market.
Did someone mention Gibson and Robotuners? It's the same...
There you go! That's pretty much it.
Back in those days, everyone knew that if you were talking about Destiny's Child, you were talking about Beyonce, LaTavia, LeToya, and Larry.

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Re: What's left for Fender to do?

Post by Danley » Sun Nov 11, 2018 7:11 am

Zork wrote:
Sun Nov 11, 2018 4:01 am
From a marketing perspective a Fender should always sound and look like a Fender. An innovative instrument from Fender would most likely fail on the market.
Did someone mention Gibson and Robotuners? It's the same...
I briefly mentioned it, but an 'innovative' Fender should prob. be a Jackson.

Also - I think we should not discount innovation in the amp space, since Fender makes those.

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